The mecca for all children and a bind for all parents, long before the soul-less, cavernous warehouses of Toys R Us that killed the mystique of the toy emporium, Sheffield had Redgates. The toy shop of all toy shops.
Redgates had several locations in its lifetime, originally beginning as a sewing machine shop on Fargate before branching out into children’s prams, then toys and moving to The Moor.
After being bombed in the Sheffield Blitz, Redgates moved to temporary premises on Ecclesall Road before moving back to The Moor in 1954. However, most nowadays will probably remember its huge Furnival Gate premises (later Sunwin House).
Unfortunately the legendary store finally closed its doors in 1988, but its memories live on in every now-grown-up (in body, but never in mind) excited child that ever entered its wondrous doors.
Whether it be dolls, little cars, action figures, Lego, Subbuteo accessories, models or any of the myriad of things the shop stocked, all Sheffield kids will have an abiding fondness of the magical toy superstore.
It was regarded as the best toy shop outside of London. Indeed, Hamleys of London saw the popularity of Redgates and opened up a Sheffield store, but it never had the charm and excitement of the city stalwart and closed not long after opening.
Talking toy shops, we should probably give an honorary mention to Beatties too, the Pinstone Street shop (they had a Meadowhall branch too at one point, but a full size playable Virtual Reality game was too modern a step to capture the spirit of the town shop) that had model railways traversing overhead. Maplins took the shop, but they can’t take the vivid visions we still have of the racks and racks (and racks and racks) of models.
Do you remember Redgates? Have your say in the comments below...